"Hamstring is the s*** word of the year for me," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said in December (h/t David Prentice at the Liverpool Echo), shortly after Divock Origi became the club's seventh player to suffer a hamstring injury this season. "It is always hamstring, hamstring, hamstring—that is the intensity of the game and fixtures."
After Tuesday's match, it's clear that Klopp left a couple words out of his rant. Those two words—inevitably—were "hamstring" yet again.
In the 18th minute, Philippe Coutinho limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury. His replacement, Jordon Ibe, scored the winner, but a Coutinho absence for any amount of time would be awful news for Liverpool.
The Reds face a tricky stretch next, playing at Exeter City in the FA Cup before hosting Premier League leaders Arsenal and then Manchester United. If Coutinho misses those games, Klopp's already weakened squad will be diminished even more.
But that wasn't his only concern. In the 34th minute, defender Dejan Lovren also left the game with a hamstring issue. With Martin Skrtel already injured—hamstring, naturally—and Mamadou Sakho out of the squad for the night, Klopp had to deploy Lucas Leiva as an emergency center-back.
It worked, with the unfamiliar duo of Lucas and Kolo Toure keeping Stoke at bay. But afterwards, Klopp couldn't disguise his irritation. According to BBC Sport, he said:
The biggest problem for us is we have two and maybe three injured players again. (It is) very frustrating. The problem is we had too much injury, when the players come back others are injured. It is a cycle that needs to come out. We have no break, no recovery, Players who never had a problem had no problems in pre-season are fine, for all other players it is up and down.
Liverpool's injury list is now alarmingly long, and Klopp has to hope it doesn't derail his ambitions entirely.